I was looking forward to trying the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 for the past month. Since I wasn’t able to get an official review package, I did the next best thing — head over to Best Buy and try them out.
Please note that this is an “ears-on” analysis (like many of the hands-on reviews I’ve been doing here) and not an official in-depth review. Hopefully, that will come at a later date. But for now, I can only talk about my initial thoughts.
For one thing, Bose did change the design. These new headphones sort of remind me of the Parrot Zik 3 wireless cans. The stainless steel headband crunched against my head a little too much, making me feel like these would be uncomfortable to wear after a couple hours, unlike other Bose headphones that have a soft and cushion-like feel. Bose went out of their way to redesign their headphones, but the old adage is still relevant: If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Of course, what Bose is known best for is their slightly muddled bass sound, and those who like that won’t be disappointed with their latest. However, despite claiming that there are improved sound drivers in the new headphones, I really couldn’t tell a major difference between the sound on these and the QC 35 II cans. Of course, that’s not a bad thing either. But, like all of Bose’s wireless devices, the Headphones 700 don’t have the aptX codec for better wireless sound that so many Samsung phones are compatible with.
The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 do have improved noise cancellation, which is hard to believe, especially since the NC on the QC 35 II headphones was almost perfect. There are three levels of noise cancellation, and the highest blocked out just about all the noise at Best Buy. This type of noise cancellation is great for being at a crowded place, but it’s not good for people who jog and encounter traffic.
The call quality, which I was only able to test for a minute, was great. My friend in San Francisco didn’t have to ask me to repeat myself once, even though I was talking to him in a crowded store. He said he couldn’t hear much of the background besides my voice. I could hear him perfectly as well.
All this makes the Headphones 700 very good, but not fantastic. For $399, Bose should have hit a home run. Instead, they hit a triple. Perhaps more time with these will change my opinion, but the excitement levels just didn’t hit me where expected.